Maladaptive and Compulsive Behaviors of any kind does not solely cause turmoil to the individual, it strains all types of relationships–partner, family, friends, colleagues–and can even bring them to an end. Instinctively, we want to help those we care about, after all, it is tough to witness someone who is hurting themselves and others in the process. To do so, we must take on a conscious role so that we can be supportive rather than that of a militant or enabler.
Compulsive disorders affect the brain and body. It is a physical and psychological inability to cease engaging in impulsive behavior. There are anxiety relieving activities like gambling, shopping or sex or even eating or overworking that can be compulsive and maladaptive. People may lose a sense of control and have a preoccupation with their compulsive behaviors, regardless of the negative consequences that can come with it. This affects the brain’s reward system and the ability to regulate emotions.
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How to Show Support
It takes more than self-discipline to end any type of maladaptive and compulsive behaviors–our loved one’s need a lot of support. However, your loved one may be reluctant to discuss their pain out of embarrassment or shame. And they may be worried that getting help can sabotage their employment status, relationships or self image. Ultimately they will need to take the step toward wanting change, but there are ways that you can help them get there and be supportive along their journey.
Talk it Out
You can check in with your loved one to see if they are aware that their behavioral patterns are toxic. Do it in a way that shows empathy and concern rather than judgment and criticism. Give them uninterrupted space to let you know how they feel in the present moment, and about their plan for change. After you have actively listened, you can also share how you have been personally affected by their behaviors, using compassionate language. You will have to establish trust to effectively have vulnerable conversations.
Once your loved one has recognized their problem and is ready to begin the journey of change, offer to help them find resources that are the right fit. Take initiative and do research on mental health treatment centers, insurance coverage, and outpatient programs. Make sure to include them during the process so that they do not feel they are being controlled by you. Offer to accompany them to their consultation or appointments if they feel that would be helpful. If they invite you to a session, go with an open mind and heart. Refrain from blaming them or becoming defensive if they say something uncomfortable about you–they need the freedom to express their thoughts and feelings in a safe place.
It is also a good idea to find a therapist for yourself. The best thing you can do to help your loved one is to take care of your own mental health. Having a loved one with such issues takes a toll and may cause you to experience anger, anxiety, or hopelessness. A therapist can help you find ways to cope with your feelings and stress and can help you to learn to not take the addiction personally.
To learn how to get help for addiction in Sherman Oaks, call Trauma and Beyond Center ® at (818) 651-0725.